Like a lot of kids, The Goose doesn’t necessarily do back flips when confronted with a bowl of vegetables. It’s not that he doesn’t like them. The boy has been known to eat an entire tomato (or two!) for his afternoon snack, and is always asking to take cucumbers in his lunch. But, if given the choice between baby carrots or a pudding cup, I can tell you for certain which one he’d choose.
The thing is, like most kids, he doesn’t like being forced to eat his veggies. And though we have a ‘two bite’ rule at our house (meaning you need to take at least two bites of each thing on your plate), I don’t enjoy pestering him. So how do I get him to snack on carrots, grapes, and apple slices? What’s my secret for getting kids to eat to eat vegetables?
I make them available.
Yup, that’s it. Instead of hiding carrots and cucumbers in the vegetable crisper, I wash them and set them out on the table. Instead of asking The Goose if he’d like an apple, I quietly slice one up and set it near him. It’s always gone in minutes – guaranteed.
If you set out a plate of nutritious food, your family will eat it.
We all know what happens to a bowl of potato chips at a party, right? Each time you walk by, your grab a handful. The same thing happens if you set out a bowl of baby carrots. That’s why on weekends, when nutritious foods come second to trips to the ice cream parlor, bowls of popcorn on movie night, and our traditional pizza dinner on Sunday, I find it especially important to find ways to encourage healthy eating. Even if it comes in the form of mindless snacking.
How do I do it?
I’ll often put out a bowl of fresh grapes before breakfast. Without saying a word, The Goose will quietly sit down and eat them. In the afternoon, I’ll set out a plate of sliced red peppers, cherry tomatoes, or celery, and before I know it, they’re gone. And, at my house nobody can resist fresh watermelon – The Goose is always the first one to break into it, grabbing our melon scoop (which is actually a cookie scoop), and eating it as fast he can scoop. So when I pick one up at the store, I make sure to set it on the table before he gets home from school.
It really is that easy to get your kids to eat healthier. But the best, and most effective way to get your kids to eat fruits and vegetables is to eat them yourselves. Kids pay attention – and when they see mom or dad eating an apple, they’ll want an apple, too.
Trust me – Everyone wins when fresh fruits and vegetables are made available.